Characters / Avatar: The Last Airbender "The Ember Island Players"

The Ember Island Players are an ensemble of actors performing at the theatre on Ember Island, the vacation home of the Fire Nation nobility. They are underpaid hams who dazzle the audiences with impressive special effects and wild costumes. Two of their plays are known: Love Amongst the Dragons and The Boy in the Iceberg. Ursa, a former member of the Hira'a Acting Troupe, used to take Zuko and Azula to Love Amongst the Dragons, but Zuko thinks the Players "butchered" it.

Team Avatar went to see The Boy in the Iceberg in the episode "The Ember Island Players" and considered it absolutely horrible, despite the special effects. The Boy in the Iceberg, named for the first episode of Avatar The Last Airbender, is a highly dramatised, propagandistic, exaggerated tale of the adventures of Aang and his silly friends, who are eventually defeated by Fire Lord Ozai. The play is also commentary on Fandom. Here, then, are the Ember Island Players. Hold your applause until the end.

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    Team Avatar 

Player Aang

Voiced by: Rachel Dratch

Player Aang is an athletic young woman wearing a bald cap. She plays Aang as hyperactive and excessively outgoing, with a penchant for playing pranks on people. Player Aang's mission as the Avatar is to bring "joy and fun" to the World. Player Aang triggers the Avatar State by saying "Avatar State, yip-yip!" Real Aang is dismayed to see that Player Aang is a woman. He is even more dismayed when Player Ozai kills Player Aang at the end.

  • Affably Evil: He's seen as "evil" by the Fire Nation audience, but also funny and lovable.
  • Affectionate Parody: Of the Broadway adaptation of Peter Pan, right down to using a female actress to play a young male and using wires to simulate flying. Even the way she talks sounds like Mary Martin playing Peter.
  • Bald Woman: Subverted. Player Aang's scalp is a different colour from the rest of her skin, so she is most likely wearing a bald cap, and though a recently-shaved head would also be a different color from the rest of the head hers appears darker rather than paler.
  • Big "NO!"/Slow No: A good eight seconds long.
  • Catch Phrase: "Avatar State, yip-yip!"
  • Character Exaggeration: Of Aang's Keet and Prankster tendencies.
  • Crosscast Role: Much to Aang's frustration.
  • Dawson Casting: Player Aang looks to be ten years older than Kid Hero Aang — deliberately done In-Universe.
  • Death by Adaptation: Considering it was written by and for the Fire Nation, yeah not surprising they would kill the hero off.
  • Genki Girl: Playing a Keet.
  • The Hero Dies: Unsurprisingly, given that the play is Fire Nation propaganda, The Bad Guy Wins and succeeds in taking down the Avatar.
  • Like Brother and Sister: With Player Katara.
  • Not Quite Flight: To fly, Player Aang is hoisted up by a crane, the typical practice for a flying god since the days of ancient Greek theatre.
  • The Prankster: She even lampshades it: "Have I mentioned that I'm an incurable prankster?''. Much to the real Aang's dismay
  • Take That: Konietzko and DiMartino's criticism of the practice of women voicing boys in Peter Pan, The Simpsons, and other productions.
  • Villain Protagonist: Because the play is told from a perspective sympathetic to the Fire Nation, the character of Aang is seen as the bad guy — the embodiment of feckless immaturity, ruining all the Fire Nation's plans.

Player Katara

Voiced by: Grey DeLisle

Player Katara is older and fatter than Real Katara, and not as beautiful. She speaks in a much huskier voice than the real Katara. Player Katara is melodramatic, prone to crying on any occasion, obsessed with hope, and an incompetent fighter. She wears her heart on her sleeve, especially in front of Player Aang. Player Katara is in love with Player Zuko, and regards Player Aang as her little brother.

  • Adaptational Villainy: Has absolutely no objection to Jet destroying an entire town. The very thing that caused the real Katara to turn on him.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: "Oh Jet, you're so...bad...."
  • Calling Your Attacks: "Waterbend! Hi-yah!"
  • Casting Gag: Grey DeLisle is also the voice of Azula.
  • Character Exaggeration: What little bit of Katara's personality the play gets right, it exaggerates beyond belief.
  • Chickification: "I'm so full of hope... it's making me tearbend!"
  • Dawson Casting: She's never going to see fourteen again, that's for certain. This is deliberate In-Universe.
  • Foe Romance Subtext: With Player Zuko.
  • Foot Popping: As she and Jet kiss.
  • Hotter and Sexier: Sort of. She's not as beautiful as the real Katara, but she is much more sexualized, having a more adult figure than Katara, and showing cleavage and her leg, as well as acting in a more sexualized manner (sultry expressions, sexy poses, so on).
  • Like Brother and Sister: With Player Aang. And she keeps on saying it, for good measure.
    "Katara": Remember, Aang, I'll always love you - as a brother!
    "Aang": I wouldn't want it any other way.
  • Melodrama: The living incarnation of it, right from the word "go".
  • Overly Long Gag: She cries dramatically in just about every sequence in the first act.
  • Show Some Leg: The real Katara wears trousers under her dress.
  • Team Mom: Just like the real deal.

Player Sokka

Voiced by: Scott Menville

Player Sokka is much older than Real Sokka, with buck teeth. He's a backwoods, dumb-muscle, Water Tribe hick, and the comic relief. Player Sokka is constantly hungry, and obsessed with eating meat. But the actor for Player Sokka is a pretty chill guy — when Sokka approaches him backstage with some ideas for new jokes, the actor gladly incorporates them into the scene, despite initial misgivings — ("Oh, boy, another fan with "Ideas"") and to the delight of the audience.

  • Catch Phrase: "I'm starving!" He says it twice in the first 30 seconds of the play.
  • Dawson Casting: invoked He's got the gangly limbs down pat, but otherwise, isn't a teenager. This is intentional.
  • Throw It In: In-Universe. He uses Sokka's suggestions of making up catch-phrases and throwing in jokes for the third act.
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: When Player Suki teaches him the way of the Kyoshi Warriors, she makes him wear the dress and makeup. Player Sokka asks "Does this make my butt look fat?"

Player Toph

Voiced by: John DiMaggio

Player Toph is a big, burly man who is blind, but can "see" using echolocation, emitting a loud scream. Real Toph likes Player Toph, saying "I wouldn't have cast it any other way."

  • The Big Guy: Except that unlike the real Toph, he is literally the big guy of the group.
  • Blinding Bangs: Player Toph wears the real Toph's fringe.

    Fire Nation 

Player Zuko

Voiced by: Derek Basco

Player Zuko is more accurate than other Players, but Real Zuko considers Player Zuko too stiff and dour, and Player Zuko's scar is on the wrong side. Player Zuko is even more obsessed than the real Zuko with honor and capturing the Avatar, and shouts "honor!" more than he says anything else. He flirts with Player Katara. In Act III, he is killed by Player Azula for his betrayal of the Fire Nation.

Player Iroh

Voiced by: John DiMaggio

Player Iroh is Player Zuko's doddering glutton of an uncle. He is obsessed with cake instead of tea, and is trying and failing to give Player Zuko cake. Player Iroh is betrayed and defeated by Player Zuko, which is uncomfortably close to the truth for Zuko.

  • Adaptational Villainy: The play is Fire Nation propaganda after all. Naturally, Iroh's not going to be played in a positive light.
  • Big Eater: Unlike the real Iroh, who loves tea, Player Iroh loves cake instead.
  • The Hedonist: Player Iroh lacks the spirituality of the real Iroh. His first line is a suggestion that he and Zuko get massages. The Fire Nation, we've seen, is against individual pleasure and expression, so exaggerating this aspect of Iroh to make him look ridiculous makes perfect sense.
  • Playing Gertrude: Unlike almost everyone else in the cast, Player Iroh probably isn't even half of Iroh's age. (In fact, he looks like he could be younger than Player Zuko.)

Player Azula

Voiced by: Tara Strong

Player Azula is older than Real Azula, with a huskier voice, and wears pink, along with thick makeup and long painted nails. Player Azula electrocutes Player Aang at the end of Act II, then kills Player Zuko in Act III.

  • Adaptation Dye-Job: She has black hair, as opposed to the real Azula's dark brown.
  • Adaptational Heroism: Even outside of the play's status as propaganda, she seems to lack most of Azula's psychopathic tendencies, for example not shooting Iroh during the re-enactment of "The Chase".
  • Combat Stilettos: As opposed to her real counterpart, who constantly wears sensible flat-soled boots.
  • Daddy's Little Villain: Just like the real deal.
  • Dawson Casting: invoked She definitely isn't fourteen.
  • Hero Antagonist: As the character who's most prominent at hounding the Avatar and foiling his plans, Player Azula would be seen as this by the Fire Nation audience.
  • Hero Killer: Unlike the real Azula, she actually kills Player Zuko.
  • Princesses Prefer Pink: Unlike the real Azula, who wears the standard fire nation colors of red, black, and gold.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: "Hey, look, Zuko! It's your honor!"

Player Ozai

Player Ozai is the Fire Lord in the play. As the play is propaganda, Player Ozai is a heroic leader, and he looks much more like the real Ozai than any of the Players look like their characters. In the climax of Act III, he kills Player Aang with the power of Sozin's Comet and conquers the World.

  • Beard of Evil: Beard of Good, as far as the play's concerned.
  • Beauty Inversion: He actually looks far more like a stereotypical evil overlord than the real Ozai does, even though he's meant to be the good guy.
  • Big Good: His taking over the world is portrayed as a good thing.

Player Mai

Player Mai looks similar to real Mai, albeit with a few differences. Her belt has a sad face on it, her fringe covers her eyes, and she keeps her knives in her "ox horn" hair.

Player Ty Lee

Player Ty Lee is a pudgy ballerina. Instead of doing acrobatic stunts, she dances sedately across the stage. Instead of chi-blocking by poking people, she kisses them.

  • Beauty Inversion: Much like Player Mai, Player Ty Lee is far less attractive than the real deal.
  • Bare Your Midriff: But she can't pull it off quite like the real Ty Lee.
  • Kiss of Death: Unlike the real Ty Lee, she paralyzes her opponents by kissing them.
  • The Paralyzer: Except with kisses instead of jabs.

    Other Characters 

Player Suki

Player Suki looks very close to the real Suki, but her headdress and fans are exaggerated. She has no lines. In Act I, she trains Player Sokka in the ways of the Kyoshi Warriors.

Player Bumi

Player Bumi is the King of Omashu. He wears a padded suit to simulate the real Bumi's muscles, an oversized monocle to look like Bumi's Mad Eye, and a feathered hat as a crown, which looks like Bumi's pet Flopsy. Player Bumi speaks in rhymes.

Player Yue

Voiced by: Jennie Kwan

Player Yue appears at the end of Act I. She wears a pink dress with many bows, and her hair is a braid attached to her hair loops. When she sacrifices herself to become the Moon Spirit, she is hoisted up on a moon prop, while Player Sokka grieves below.

Player Jet

Player Jet, who has spiky hair and chews on a flower, appears in two scenes. In Act I, he floods a village to impress Player Katara, who hugs him and says "Oh Jet, you're so...bad...." In Act II, he appears in Lake Laogai, and is presumed dead when a rock lands on him. He is Brainwashed in that scene, as indicated by googly eyes. Instead of the real Jet's twin hook swords, Player Jet is armed with twin hook hands.

  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Player Katara certainly does.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Like the real Jet, except it makes him look far goofier.
  • Dawson Casting: In-universe. In the finest tradition of Dawson's Creek, he plays a brooding teenager but has got at least ten more years on him.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Just sort of... falls over. Then a "rock" falls on him. Lampshaded, even the Gaang aren't certain what just happened.
    Zuko: Did Jet just... die?
    Sokka: You know, it was really unclear.
  • Hook Hand: To simulate the real deal's hook swords.
  • Mind-Control Eyes: He has googly eyes to show that he is brainwashed.
  • Rebel Leader: Except that the Freedom Fighters don't appear in the play, or at least weren't shown.